Effect of environmental temperature on the anaerobic capacity of heat acclimatised athletes

Finn, J.P., Marsden, J.F., Wood, R.J., Travar, A.L., Effect of environmental temperature on the anaerobic capacity of heat acclimatised athletes, Proceedings of the International Conference on Physiological and Cognitive Performance in Extreme Environments, Edited by Lau, T., Cotter, J., Forbes-Ewan, C. Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Department of Defence - Australia. Canberra March 2000, pp183-185.

This study found no significant difference in the anaerobic capacity of six heat acclimatised athletes when comparing temperate (21.8 ± 0.5 °C; 52 ± 5 % humidity) with warm conditions (29.6 ± 0.5 °C; 51 ± 9 % humidity).

Anaerobic capacity was estimated using the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit (MAOD) during constant intensity cycling at 120% O2 peak until exhaustion. This yielded similar mean MAOD values of 3.3 ± 0.9 and 3.5 ± 1.1 L (p=0.58) for temperate and warm conditions, respectively. Peak post-exercise lactate values were also not significantly different and were 14.7 ± 3.8 and 14.4 ± 4.5 mmol.L-1(p=0.72) for temperate and warm conditions, respectively. Time to exhaustion (TTE) was similarly unchanged in the heat, being 175 ± 19 and 170 ± 18 seconds (p=0.56) for temperate and warm conditions, respectively. Even though there was no significant difference in MAOD, peak post-exercise lactate or TTE between the two conditions, there was still a trend for greater reliance on anaerobic metabolism during exercise in the heat.

These results suggest that the MAOD is not affected by environmental temperature in the ambient temperature range of 20-30 °C and approximately 50 % humidity in heat acclimatised athletes. Despite the higher mean skin temperature, assumed higher cutaneous blood flow and potentially reduced muscle perfusion, the athletes' performance as measured by TTE was unaffected.

Related Pages